Central Florida Expressway Authority
Laura Kelley, executive director of the Central Florida Expressway Authority, has a lot on her plate. After all, her agency is actively planning for the future of connected, autonomous vehicles, connecting local communities with alternative modes of transportation in addition to expressways, and working with emerging technologies that drive efficiency, safety and productivity.
“With so much to achieve, staying focused on the needs of our customers is imperative,” said Kelley. “The explosive growth in Central Florida has created a very strong demand for additional capacity improvements on our existing system and new transportation corridors that improve connectivity between our communities.”
Kelley noted that CFX will be adding lanes to 60 percent of regional expressways over the next few years and has viability studies underway on eight new transportation corridors. “Our robust economy,” she added, “has also created a need for modern, world-class transportation options in addition to expressways to provide additional connectivity. That’s why we’re preserving right of way for other types of transportation along all of our expressways as we add capacity.”
CFX has several initiatives in the works currently having an impact in Central Florida. The agency’s Wrong Way Driving and Prevention Program is saving lives, and, in partnership with UCF, the agency continues to research ways to improve the program. It is also partnering with the Florida Highway Patrol for a Construction Zone Safety Campaign that will educate drivers on what to do if they find themselves stranded or in an accident in a construction zone. The campaign will emphasize safe speeds in construction areas.
In an effort to enhance the visitor transportation experience, the agency is piloting a toll program at Orlando International Airport that will cost considerably less than most rental car customers pay today.
Rolling with the Changes
Transportation has evolved significantly during Kelley’s distinguished career, but she has managed to adjust extremely well to this evolution. “The biggest difference over the span of 30 years has been the focus on traditional roadways to a much broader approach of providing a variety of transportation options for people and freight,” she explained. “Technology has made it possible to improve almost every aspect of our business.”
Throughout all of the planning and execution of transportation enhancements and initiatives, Kelley most enjoys working with CFX customers, the business community and transportation partners. Planning and building a world-class transportation network in partnership with other transportation agencies that will serve the Central Florida region for many generations to come inspires her more than anything else.
Kelley began her career working as a contract administrator with Figg and Mueller Engineers. She remembers experiencing one thing in particular during that time she believes played a significant role in her career path choice.
“Gene Figg, the president of the company, believed every employee should appreciate the beauty and complexity of their bridges, so he would regularly take us on project site tours,” she remembered. “My first tour was Tampa Bay’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which was inspiring and breathtaking. That experience began my lifelong passion for transportation.”
Thank you, Gene Figg, for inspiring a future transportation leader who is making a significant impact on the Central Florida region.
Did You Know?
One book that sticks out in my memory is Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers. Brilliant observations of universal truths.
Most inspirational historic figure?
No one person stands out, but characteristics I admire include positivity, optimism, compassion and honesty.
How about two? “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King, Jr. … and …“Do not fall in love with your solution, fall in love with the problem.”– Uri Levine, Waze co-founder